Meet our employee of the year: Chip Voigts

Meet our employee of the year: Chip Voigts
Posted on 12/14/2020

Municipal Services Street Foreman Chip Voigts was named the City of Lenexa's 2020 Employee of the Year for demonstrating the values of the City on a daily basis.

Chip has served with the City of Lenexa for more than 18 years, and his nomination said he shows continuous commitment to providing excellent public service:

"He always has a smile on his face and displays professionalism when interacting with citizens and fellow employees. This employee understands very well the responsibility of public service and that our work is continuously observed by Lenexa citizens. He ensures that his actions and those of his crew are viewed positively when working on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Lenexa. He is very conscious of taxpayer dollars and does not want to be wasteful.... The organization and community are fortunate to have an employee who puts forth the extra effort to make Lenexa a great place to live and work."

We asked Chip a few questions about the most enjoyable, memorable and rewarding aspects of his work. 

As Municipal Services Street Foreman, what does your job entail?

My job is very rewarding. We maintain the streets to keep them safe for Lenexa citizens. That translates to repaving, pothole removal and moving street debris. Everything must be kept to code for safe passage.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job, or the aspect you enjoy most?

The most rewarding part of the job is when you get a “thank you” or an “atta boy” from a citizen for a job well done. It also happens at Learning About Lenexa, a City-sponsored program that educates elementary school students. You see the look on the children’s face after you have done a demonstration for them. They get to see the equipment up close and ask questions.

How has your job changed over the years?

Over the years, our job has become more challenging. At Municipal Services, we have the privilege of using updated equipment and accessories for road upkeep. We use new technology to follow weather forecasting to anticipate road needs. Road conditions are monitored remotely with camers that are positioned throughout the city. Some of our bridges are now de-iced remotely using a computer program. The City trucks can be followed on a map as they travel through the city, either with asphalt for road repair or salt for snow removal. Ten years ago, we had none of these luxuries. It has made our team extremely efficient and expedient.

As the “snow boss,” how do you make decisions about how to handle snow events?

As a snow boss, we use many sources about upcoming weather and road conditions to put together a plan for the city. Each snow event has its own plan. The snow bosses work with the street superintendent to ensure that all road lane miles are cleared in a timely manner. Then, each snow route may be re-reviewed by a snow boss to ensure that removal is adequate.

Your nomination said you’re often one of the first employees to sign up for and work at after-hours events. Which do you most enjoy, and why?

I look forward every year to the Moonlight Bike Ride. I also enjoy the 5K and 10K runs. My family enjoys the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle.

One of the most beneficial events, Dumpster Days, is held twice a year. Citizens may recycle most household items. We add them to appropriate stations we have set up, then our team sorts the stations. Some items are donated to Habitat for Humanity. Some are sent to a technology waste yard. Tires or old rubber is transported to a special vendor in downtown Kansas City. The remainder of the like items are grouped together and sent to proper places for recycling.

Lenexa even has a program that will show you how to make a rain barrel. It teaches a citizen how to catch and use the rainwater on your yard or flowers.

Whatever it takes to work together and show pride in Lenexa and reduce our “footprint.” They may be very little things, but each small step counts.

What’s one of the most memorable or interesting experiences you’ve had one the job?

One of the most memorable times I’ve had while working for the City of Lenexa happened on a regular workday when I had just left the Municipal Services compound heading for home. I received a page, returned the call, and the police dispatcher indicated that the Fire Department needed an assist with a large, rapidly growing mulch fire at 87th and Renner. I thought maybe the dispatcher may have contacted the wrong department. But what was needed was a front loader to scrape up large amounts of dirt to try to suffocate the fire. It worked .

It’s just an example of how City services cross over to assist each other. Being a team player is crucial with a city of our size. We need to take care of each other.

Fortunately, this night, everyone was safe. The fire had to be monitored for some time.

What would surprise people to know about the work of the Municipal Services Department?

Something that might surprise citizens is that Municipal Services has a worker on-call 24 hours a day for emergent situations. Though we pride ourselves on very few complaint calls, we strive to answer and respond to each one in a timely manner.

We also have a request program available to elementary schools called Learning About Lenexa. We take one large piece of equipment, do a demonstration and answer questions from the students. These times are very rewarding and always fun. Just another way Municipal Services strives for excellence for our City of Lenexa.

Name a moment you’ve taken pride in during your career.

One of the proudest moments I've had with the City was the day they honored my father, Mr. Norman Voigts , for his 25 years of service with Muncipal Services for the City of Lenexa. Although I have only worked for the City of Lenexa for 18 years, I strive to do this job as proudly and honorably as my father did. Our family and family name helped establish this City (learn more at the Legler Barn Museum). We were farming part of this land before it became the City of Lenexa. I am very proud to call Lenexa home.

Published Dec. 14, 2020